Page last updated at 10:35 GMT, Thursday, 10 April 2008 11:35 UK

Scots beaches 'worst for waste'

Thousands of items of rubbish were collected

Scotland's beaches have the worst levels of litter in the UK, according to conservationists.

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) said plastics, visitors' rubbish and waste which had been flushed down the toilet were the main problems.

In Scotland more than a quarter of the litter was sewage-related debris (SRD), mainly cotton buds - five times more than the UK average.

More than 8,000 cotton bud sticks were collected at East Bay in Helensburgh.

The MCS said there was a history of SRD at this beach and others in the area.

Litter can ruin Scotland's good reputation as an attractive country
Michael Russell
Environment Minister

The Beachwatch 2007 report stated: "The presence of SRD, such as sanitary towels, tampons and condoms, on our beaches is totally unacceptable at any level.

"Improvements to sewerage treatment, changes in manufacturing practices and public attitudes will all play a role in achieving the removal of sanitary waste from our beaches."

A total of 43,078 pieces of litter were collected during the study - an average of 2,727.8 items per kilometre surveyed in Scotland. The UK average was 2,054.

Environment Minister Michael Russell expressed disappointment at the amount of litter recorded.

He added: "We all have a responsibility to ensure that our rubbish is disposed of in the proper manner.

"Litter can ruin Scotland's good reputation as an attractive country and blights the landscape of our beaches and seas."

Earlier this year the Scottish Government announced plans to tackle beach litter.

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